Above are the characteristics of the portfolio. As there are no companies trading below liquidation value, this year’s portfolio sticks to Graham’s recommended mix of safe balance sheets and earnings yields that double the current AAA bond yield, which is 3.71%.
Graham recommended a minimum earnings yield of 10% regardless of how low interest rates are. After the most recent run-up in the markets, there were not many bargain stocks to choose from and I had to loosen the standards and try to simply double the current AAA corporate bond yield. I certainly stretched both rules with Valero. However, when you factor in Valero’s current 3.48% dividend yield, the logic makes a bit more sense, particularly when it appears that oil prices are bottoming. Regardless, the average still remains 10.95%, which is above Graham’s recommendation.
The average debt/equity ratio of the portfolio is currently 14.845%, which is safe. This average rate does not include MSGN, which has negative equity, a phenomenon common among spin offs because parent companies normally like to unload debt on these entities. I am comfortable with this debt because 19 out of the 20 securities in the portfolio have safe balance sheets and I can afford to have 1 security representing 5% of my portfolio with a risky capital structure. Additionally, I am comfortable with this debt because the risk of recession is low based on the current household debt service ratio explained in an earlier blog post.
For each of the stocks in my portfolio, there is a reason to either yawn or be repulsed, which is the point. All of these companies have problems but they are all earning money and have safe capital structures, implying that their problems will not be fatal. If the company were perfect, everyone would own it and the bargain would disappear. Beautiful companies aren’t cheap. The beautiful cheap company is about as common as a unicorn and takes a genius like Warren Buffett to spot.
I’m not anywhere near Warren Buffett’s level of intelligence, so I’ll settle the diversified portfolio of deep bargains. Besides, with the small sums that I am investing, I can indulge in deeply discounted small cap companies that larger investors cannot invest large sums in. Over long stretches of time I believe that I can beat the indexes with this approach.
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided on this site is not financial advice and I am not a financial professional. I am an amateur and the purpose of this site is to simply monitor my successes and failures.